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​During the recent celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of the Swedish Air Force, Defense & Aerospace Report​ took the opportunity to speak to Ulf Nilsson, Senior Vice President and Head of Aeronautics, Saab, on the philosophy that drives the making and development of Gripen E and what makes the approach fundamentally different.

Future technology is, of course, hard to predict even three to four years down the line. Looking back 10-15 years, the pace of technology development could be predicted, but not so with the coming of the digital revolution. “Earlier, the pace of development of technology was setting the pace of development of capabilities of the fighter system. Not anymore though. This is a big change and the development platform has to be able to cope with this kind of a change,” says Nilsson. 

Keeping that in mind, Gripen E is created to be relevant even if the technology of today becomes obsolete tomorrow. That is one of the best features of the new Gripen: its flexibility, preserved in a balanced design, makes it extremely adaptable. 

Built upon the strong base of proven C/D platform, Gripen E redefines air-defence systems with its exciting new capabilities and significant cost reduction. Not only does Gripen E have what it takes to fly safely, when it comes to tactical and functional developments, it has more of an ‘app-based development’ approach, which makes it easier to upgrade the aircraft from time to time. “This is one of the major leaps forward when ...

​Defense & Aerospace Report​'s Vago Muradian asks Gripen test pilot Marcus Wandt what makes Gripen E different and also gets the latest updates on the aircraft. 

“First, there is a new sensor suite with the AESA radar, IRST and EW which will be added with separate sensors. The idea is to get all these sensors working together and get a good sensor fusion in the avionics,” Wandt says.

According to Wandt, the transition from C/D to E/F will be easy for existing Gripen pilots.

"For a Gripen pilot, the transition from Gripen C/D to E/F will be pretty easy because flying both the aircraft is similar. It will be the human machine interface that will be different, for which pilots need to be trained," Wandt says.

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The International Sanicole Airshow (ISA), an annual Belgian airshow, will be held this weekend in Hechtel-Eksel. About 14 countries are participating this year, with demonstrations from both military and private aviation sector.

The airshow, which started in the mid-70s as a very small 'festival of stuntmen', has grown into a big event with participation of a number of fast jets and old timers, both on static and aerial displays. 

Saab will be present at ISA with a full scale Gripen E replica. People can climb onboard to get a feel of the new generation fighter. Saab staff will be present at the stall to respond to queries. Gaming enthusiasts can play the multi-player version the Gripen Fighter Challenge game.

A Czech Air Force Gripen will also participate in the aerial displays. Saab fighters Draken, Tunnan and Viggen will also be seen flying at the airshow.

Know more about the event here.

​For the Brazilian engineers in Sweden, working on an aircraft that is not produced in Brazil is a huge step. Working in a new country, adapting to a new culture and acquiring knowledge make the collaboration an unforgettable experience for them.

​More than 130,000 visitors attended the event that celebrated 90 years of the Swedish Air Force. Besides Gripen, more than 100 aircraft including Viggen, Draken and Tunnan also participated.​

Saab Experience offered virtual & augmented reality and a Gripen simulator among other things. Here are a few snapshots from the event.29285832335_ceda24179a_z.jpg

Gripen fighters in an aerial formation

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 Gripen test pilot Hans Einerth and a young visitor posing with a full scale Gripen E replica
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Inside Saab Experience
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​Last month, a full scale replica of Gripen E was on display at a mall in North Lake, Brasilia. The video captures the process of putting it all together.

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Aviation enthusiasts in Brazil were in for a pleasant surprise when they spotted a full scale Gripen model at a mall in North Lake, Brasilia recently.

FAB personnel at the mall briefed visitors on the aircraft.  Visitors were able to check out the cockpit while Project Manager for FX2, Colonel Julius Caesar Cardoso Tavares, answered their queries. 

"The interesting thing about this full scale replica is that it has the exact Wide Area Display that will be in the aircraft. This gives a real sense of what the pilot will see on the display while flying the aircraft. That apart, one can see the weapons, including A-Darter missile that will be integrated with Gripen NG,” Colonel Cardoso Tavares says. 

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Fab.mil

​On May 18, 2016, Saab unveiled Gripen E, the next generation fighter. Over previous versions of the Gripen, Gripen E has a significantly improved avionics system. The capability to carry more weapons and the improved range performance is possible by a more powerful engine and the ability to carry more fuel. Gripen E is equipped with a highly sophisticated sensor suite including an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, Infra Red Search and Track (IRST), Electronic Warfare (EW) suite, and datalink technology, which, when combined, gives the pilot and co-operating forces, exactly the information needed at all times.

The Gripen Evolution ceremony was attended by more than 500 guests including Sweden’s Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist, Sweden’s Air Force Chief of Staff Mats Helgesson, Commander of the Brazilian Air Force, Nivaldo Luiz Rossato, and representing Saab; Chairman of the Board Marcus Wallenberg, CEO Håkan Buskhe and the Head of business area Aeronautics, Ulf Nilsson.

“We are redefining air power for the 21st century. This will change the way air forces think, fly and fight for decades to come,” says Ulf Nilsson, head of Saab business area Aeronautics.

Know more about the event here​.

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The future is always uncertain. So the pilots of the future need an aircraft that can be easily upgraded to meet ever-changing requirements.

“Computers, processors and electronics are continuously developing and it’s important that you can upgrade these as new tech emerges in the market,” says Saab’s Wing Commander Flying and Gripen test pilot Hans Einerth.

Right from the beginning, Gripen E was developed with future progress in mind. By managing to isolate systems affecting the core flight abilities, the plane’s split avionics system allows for integration of off-the-shelf products.

“The future pilot will need the ability to continuously upgrade the hardware and software and not get stuck in old functionality; this is of increasing importance,” explains Einerth.

Read the full story here​.

​Gripen E was presented to the world on 18 May 2016. This aircraft presented was the first of the three test aircraft which will support the Gripen E programme. Attended by more than 500 guests, the Gripen Evolution event also included an aerial display by a Gripen C and a static display of a SwAF Gripen upgraded to the MS20 configuration.​ Here are some images from the roll out.

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For more images and videos, visit Saab.​

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